Author Topic: Size of a Squadron's Maintenance Wing  (Read 24490 times)

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Offline Fred Herriot

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Size of a Squadron's Maintenance Wing
« on: July 04, 2011, 17:29:08 »
Curious question to all the air maintenance folks out there:

What is the average size of a flying squadron's maintenance wing?

Like how many techs in all the different trades would be assigned to it?

Is it determined by number of aircraft assigned to the squadron?

And how exactly would it be managed?

Just curious . . .  ???
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aesop081

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Re: Size of a Squadron's Maintenance Wing
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2011, 17:33:55 »
Keep in mind that some squadrons do not have their own maintenance departments.

Offline Fred Herriot

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Re: Size of a Squadron's Maintenance Wing
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2011, 17:52:45 »
I'm aware of that.  But what of those who do have integral maintenance wings?  Or is everything in the hands of the Air Maintenance Squadrons now?
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aesop081

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Re: Size of a Squadron's Maintenance Wing
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2011, 17:57:18 »
Or is everything in the hands of the Air Maintenance Squadrons now?

This is the case in some locations. 14 Wing Greenwood is an example, all the Auroras there are maintaned by 14 AMS. Comox is the other end of the spectrum where both 407 Sqn and 442 Sqns have their own mainetnance departments and 19 AMS conducts second line maintenance tasks. I'm not sure about other Wings/aircraft fleets.

Offline Fred Herriot

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Re: Size of a Squadron's Maintenance Wing
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2011, 18:21:00 »
So would it be one or two people of each air maintenance trade per airplane with a supervisor (a sergeant) in charge of the plane crew or something like that?
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Offline mr peabody

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Re: Size of a Squadron's Maintenance Wing
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2011, 19:38:52 »
No, it really depends on the unit/airframe.  14 AMS had 3 first line servicing crews when I was there, just under 60 people per crew.  The breakdown can vary but we had about 10 or so working rank techs for each the 4 AVN/AVS specialties, and the remainder were Sgt and above as well a few ACS techs.  There were perhaps 12 or so airframes there at any one time.  Comox had 4 frames, and the crews were much smaller as a result.

In Shearwater, 423 Sqn has it's own techs for first line operations, we have 2 crews of about 60 people all ranks for maybe 10 choppers or so, I honestly can't remember exactly how many birds we have at work right now as weird as that may sound.

We don't designate ownership of individual airframes to a Sgt etc....  labour is generally divided into snags and servicing crews with snags folks performing all maintenance and the servicing techs looking after the flyers for the day.  Each of the 2 groups will be controlled by a 'C' release tech usually a Sgt or a senior MCpl.   'Red' or unserviceable airframes belong to snags, 'Green' or serviceable airframes are the responsibility of servicing. 

Hope this helps, feel free to ask me any questions you may have, I'll offer what I can to clear things up for you.
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Offline Fred Herriot

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Re: Size of a Squadron's Maintenance Wing
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2011, 10:46:34 »
So say for a squadron of 16 aircraft, it would go like this:

MAINTENANCE WING HEADQUARTERS
1 x Air Maintenance Officer (CAPT/MAJ) (AERE)
1 x Deputy Air Maintenance Officer (LT/CAPT) (AERE)
1 x Air Maintenance Warrant Officer (MWO) (Any AM Trade)
1 x Senior "C" Release Technician (SGT) (Any AM Trade)
1 x Wing Clerk (MCPL) (RMS Clk)
1 x Wing Supply Technician (MCPL) (Sup Tech)
2 x Supply Technicians (PTE/CPL) (Sup Tech)

FIRST LINE SERVICING CREW (x4)
1 x Crew Commander (LT/CAPT) (AERE)
1 x Crew Chief (WO) (Any AM Trade)
1 x "C" Release Technician (MCPL/SGT) (Any AM Trade)
1 x Crew Supply Technician (CPL) (Sup Tech)
1 x Structures Chief (SGT) (ACS Tech)
1 x Senior Structures Technician (MCPL) (ACS Tech)
6 x Structures Technicians (PTE/CPL) (ACS Tech)
1 x Weapons Team Chief (SGT) (AWS Tech)
3 x Senior Weapons Technicians (MCPL) (AWS Tech)
12 x Weapons Technicians (PTE/CPL) (AWS Tech)
1 x Aviation Systems Chief (SGT) (AVN Tech)
3 x Senior Aviation Technicians (MCPL) (AVN Tech)
12 x Aviation Technicians (PTE/CPL) (AVN Tech)
1 x Avionics Systems Chief (SGT) (AVS Tech)
3 x Senior Avionics Technicians (MCPL) (AVS Tech)
12 x Avionics Technicians (PTE/CPL) (AVS Tech)
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Offline SeaKingTacco

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Re: Size of a Squadron's Maintenance Wing
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2011, 11:18:22 »
Fred,

There is no "standard" maintenance organization for a Flying Squadron. Because almost no two squadrons in the Air Force have the same local factors (mission, role, geography), it follows that no two organizations are the same.

Your question cannot be answered without (literally) giving you the REMAR to each squadron in the Air Force.

Offline Fred Herriot

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Re: Size of a Squadron's Maintenance Wing
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2011, 14:04:40 »
I can agree to that.  But when I proposed what I did beforehand, did I cover everything that would go into a maintenance wing?
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aesop081

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Re: Size of a Squadron's Maintenance Wing
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2011, 14:18:30 »
a maintenance wing?

As a point of note, there is no such thing as a "maintenance wing". Regardless, the answer to your question is no. You have things there are not found in every Sqn (much less the 16 aircraft). Furthermore, some trades you have listed there are indeed employed but do not belong to the line sqn when it comes to certain aircraft types and bases.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2011, 14:22:55 by CDN Aviator »

Offline Loachman

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Re: Size of a Squadron's Maintenance Wing
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2011, 14:30:52 »
A Squadron does not have "wings". It has flights. A wing is the next level up. Squadrons equate to battalions, flights to companies within those battalions, and wings to brigades.

Offline Fred Herriot

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Re: Size of a Squadron's Maintenance Wing
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2011, 11:45:08 »
WHOOPS!  My bad!  Sorry!  :facepalm:
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Offline Fred Herriot

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Re: Size of a Squadron's Maintenance Wing
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2011, 11:52:11 »
As a point of note, there is no such thing as a "maintenance wing". Regardless, the answer to your question is no. You have things there are not found in every Sqn (much less the 16 aircraft). Furthermore, some trades you have listed there are indeed employed but do not belong to the line sqn when it comes to certain aircraft types and bases.

So what trades would actually work with what specific type of aircraft?  Obviously, the AWS Techs wouldn't be assigned to a transport squadron or a T&R squadron (I apologise, BTW, for not making it clearer earlier; the 16 aircraft I would have in my proposed squadron would be tactical fighters).

Would the ACS Techs be only at the air maintenance squadron level in that case, with no one working at the squadron maintenance flight stage?

As for me including the RMS Clk and the Sup Tech, well I was an Adm Clk back in 1 Cdn Div HQ & Sigs Regt back in 1990-91 and each of the subordinate squadrons in the regiment always had a single office clerk at the MCPL rank level, so why not give the flights of an air squadron the same thing?  And having Sup Techs as 1st line logistics support makes sense to me, keeping the parts flowing from either the squadron's support flight supply section or the wing's integral maintenance and/or support squadron/flight.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2011, 12:32:05 by Fred Herriot »
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aesop081

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Re: Size of a Squadron's Maintenance Wing
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2011, 12:10:15 »
so why not give the wings of an air squadron the same thing?

Once again, Squadrons do not have Wings.

I cant speak for any other squadrons, but in mine, we have a central orderly room that handles all admin. There is no need for RMS clerks at the flight level and even less so at the AMO level.

Offline Loachman

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Re: Size of a Squadron's Maintenance Wing
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2011, 17:22:34 »
Tac Hel Squadrons typically have a Headquarters, a number of Flying Flights, a Maintenance Flight, and a Log Support Flight (principally Supply and Transport). The Orderly Room is part of the Headquarters, and that is where RMS Clerks reside. 400 Squadron used to have, and maybe still has, one RMS Clerk in the AMCRO section to maintain records. There is no need for RMS Clerks anywhere else.

Offline Scoobs

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Re: Size of a Squadron's Maintenance Wing
« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2011, 00:04:24 »
As per the remar/TO&E, there is supposed to be an RMS clerk in AMCRO, but 400 hasn't had one in there for a while. 

Fred, being an AERE and former SAMEO of a unit, the other posts here are accurate.  It very much depends on the role and type of a/c.  There are so many variations of what a Maintenance Org would look like that it is next to impossible to list them all.  However, the book answer is found in the pub called "P02".  If you have access to this, then you will know what I am talking about.

I'm curious, it sounds like you are doing some sort of project or research (I used to be an instructor).  May I ask for what?
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Offline Fred Herriot

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Re: Size of a Squadron's Maintenance Wing
« Reply #16 on: July 12, 2011, 01:14:15 »
I'm curious, it sounds like you are doing some sort of project or research (I used to be an instructor).  May I ask for what?

Actually, it's sort of a personal research thing.  I've always been interested in unit make up and how they're organised; stems from the year I spent working at the Canadian Land Forces Command and Staff College in 1989 (which included a chance to go on RV 89 with 1st Canadian Signal Regiment), plus the year and a half I spend with 1 CSR afterward (which included a wonderful exercise in the Borden bunker where 700 Comm Sqn once did its work where the 1st Canadian Division headquarters staff ran an exercise that incorporated the theories behind the Corps 86 formation ideas; I actually was asked to prepare the map unit tags for all the units involved in the exercise).

I also write fiction stories on the side (including sci-fi and fantasy stuff) and I often incorporate military situations into my stories, so I want to try to be as accurate as possible.  That's why you'll see me popping up in this website every once in a while to ask some odd organisational and administrative questions.

Part of what I sometimes like to kibbitz around with is a Canadian version of the American Army aviation battalion idea as a sort of expanded brigade tactical aviation support unit.  I often find it sad that the government never considered getting proper attack helicopters (either as a single specific squadron to be part of 1 Wing or have attack flights attached to 400, 408 and 430 Squadrons -- and 427 SOAS, too -- to make sure the Griffons stay safe) for the Air Force.  After all, while setting up M134s on the Griffon seem pretty okay, but what happens if you got an opponent with some sort of anti-air missile launcher handy?  I don't believe the CH-146 is armoured even if it might have some type of chaff or flare system to make sure some idiot with a SAM doesn't ruin people's days.

What I would think would be REALLY awesome -- but I know it would NEVER happen here in Canada -- is to form a tactical aviation REGIMENT for brigade support (and I apologise for using the Army term since I myself am ex-Army and I've always believed -- correct me if I'm wrong, of course -- that the squadron concept now used in the Air Force is actually descent from the cavalry traditions that helped start off the Royal Flying Corps in World War One), composed of four mixed attack squadrons of nine attack helicopters (including one for the squadron commander of course) and nine observation helicopters working in tandem pairs, one pure reconnaissance squadron of eighteen helicopters and one utility transport squadron of thirty-two helicopters (six of which would be MEDEVAC assigned to support the brigade field ambulance battalion).  Of course, you need a lot of dedicated mechanics to keep THAT mini-air force going.

But again, as I said before, it would never happen in Canada.  Not even one simple squadron of AHs like an Apache, Mangusta or Tiger.

Still, sir, thank you very much for your comments.  And again, to everyone else, I apologise when I mixed 'wing' for 'flight.'  My bad!  :facepalm: :facepalm:
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Offline Loachman

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Re: Size of a Squadron's Maintenance Wing
« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2011, 16:00:24 »
Our Cold War doctrine was based upon the US Army Air Land Battle 2000 doctrine - ie, unit designations were changed to Canadian ones.

It made a lot of sense, and much more than what we have now. On the other hand, it was based upon equipment and manpower that we would never see so wasn't terribly realistic.

Aviation units were assigned at the lowest level that had a continual requirement for each particular type.

A Brigade would have a Light Helicopter Squadron for reconnaissance, fire direction (Arty, CAS, and limited AH co-ord), and command and liaison. It consisted of an HQ, two Flying Flights of eight hels (Kiowas at the time), a Maintenance Flight, And a Log Support Flight. A Brigade would only have occasional requirements for Attack and Utility.

Those latter two were grouped in an Aviation Wing at Division level, along with another Light Helicopter Squadron and a Maintenance Squadron. This equated to a US Aviation Brigade.

A Division would only have occasional requirement for Medium Transport (Chinook). Continual requirement for that would come in at Corps level. Additional Utility, Attack, and Light units would also be found there.

10 TAG was largely set up to reflect this, but the Div Utility Squadron was dispersed among the three brigades in mixed Kiowa and Twin Huey Squadrons, and we never had Attack. A Div Aviation Wing was formed for RV85 in Wainwright with a fully doctrinal HQ, Utility Squadron with its two Flights of twelve Twin Hueys, and Maint Squadron. The Air Reserve Squadrons formed the Div Light Squadron, and each Brigade had its Light Squadron, but with only one Flight each as we had insufficient Kiowas to create the second Flight in each. It worked very well.

My prediction when the Griffon purchase was announced was that we'd all get great tans on summer exercises because we were buying something that Brigades only had an occasional requirement for - yet each Brigade Squadron swelled to three Flights of eight Griffons each. We could neither do recce nor fire direction from them.

I am somewhat skeptical of the Chinook purchase for the same reason. Will we find enough employment for them, or will a bunch be parked after a few years, as happened to our Griffon fleet? They are very much flavour-of-the day now, but this could change at any time. It's certainly nice to have them, and a certain minimum number is required to both train and operate, but unless we do nothing but low-threat stuff like Afghanistan (which is likely, I believe) their usefulness, in the number being purchased, may be very limited.

There is ample justification for a proper recce helicopter such as the OH58F Kiowa being developed by the US Army as RH70 was cancelled - a small and agile machine with a decent sensor package and respectable armament.

There is also ample justification for Utility and Attack. Griffon is not up to the Utility role. An upgrade to UH1Y standard would solve that issue, and, if matched with AH1Z would be a cost-effective and operationally-effective package for both roles.

A Regiment (which term is in use in the British Army Air Corps), Wing in current CF parlance, or Aviation Brigade in US Army terms, is too big to match to a ground Brigade. Your proposed organization is rather bloated, even for the Div level at which it rightfully belongs.

Griffon has chaff and flares, but the biggest threat comes from standard ground weaponry - everything from rifles to tanks and artillery - because there are far more of those and they are more effective at the usual (not Afghan-specific) altitudes at which we operate.

Offline Good2Golf

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Re: Size of a Squadron's Maintenance Wing
« Reply #18 on: July 12, 2011, 16:26:35 »
[OT]

Loachman, do you not see a doctrinal role for MTH in support of CSS activities in the Army?  Your stated support of RH/LOH roles, yet questioning the enduring viability of a heavy lifter seems a bit parochial.  At the very least, who is going to support the ammo dumping program that the guns you are AOP/FOO'ing for require to support the fire plan?  Are you really saying that the CH-147 has a valid role in Afghanistan, but the CH capability in Canada is questionable?  ???

[/OT]

Fred, in the JTF-Afg Air Wing, the Chinook and Griffon sub-units were often informally referred to as companies, and other nations' aviation elements understood exactly what people meant with that nomenclature.  Back in Canada, it is indeed flights within squadrons within the Wing, as Loachman notes.  Maintenance flight as a sub-unit within a tac hel squadron's organization will remain as the construct within which aerospace maintenance and servicing activities are provided.

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Offline Fred Herriot

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Re: Size of a Squadron's Maintenance Wing
« Reply #19 on: July 12, 2011, 23:07:21 »
Loachman, G2G, thank you very much for what you've told me so far.  It is food for thought.

And yes, as I said before, what I proposed would never fly in Canada.

The reason why I went a little crazy with the numbers of AHs, OHs & UHs is to give a brigade commander a lot more options when it comes to disposing of a potential enemy force than the traditional tank, LAV and especially leg infantry with boots on the ground.  In this, I'm rather influenced by a World War Two aircraft the Soviets made huge use of in the air-to-ground attack role:  the Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik.  I would think having something like the Il-2 (in rotor format like the AH-64 Apache) would be quite an interesting asset for a brigade commander -- or taking it one step down, a battalion battle group commanding officer -- to play whenever something like that is called for.

As for the rather huge numbers of UHs in my proposed tactical aviation regiment, I would have all of them (save the MEDEVAC choppers) be available to give an airmobile capability (like the U.S. 101st Airborne Division) to the brigade.  As we now have active light infantry battalions (3 RCR, 3 PPCLI & 3 R22eR) in the serving brigade groups, giving them the capability to be shuttled by air taxi in lieu of LAV fleets (to avoid the IEDs, of course) to a potential work zone would sound quite comfortable.
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Offline Good2Golf

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Re: Size of a Squadron's Maintenance Wing
« Reply #20 on: July 12, 2011, 23:42:02 »
Quote
As for the rather huge numbers of UHs in my proposed tactical aviation regiment, I would have all of them (save the MEDEVAC choppers) be available to give an airmobile capability (like the U.S. 101st Airborne Division) to the brigade.  As we now have active light infantry battalions (3 RCR, 3 PPCLI & 3 R22eR) in the serving brigade groups, giving them the capability to be shuttled by air taxi in lieu of LAV fleets (to avoid the IEDs, of course) to a potential work zone would sound quite comfortable.

Fred, that's not such a bad idea, if the force were larger.  The US Army has several aviation brigades that have Air Assault Battalions (doctrinally 30 UH-60 Blackhawks, formed in three companies of 10 UH-60s each).   The function of the Air Assault Battalion is to, in extremis, land directly (or within enemy weapons' range) of a defended objective, vice the less dangerous airmobile operations where the LZ is not within the range of the majority of an enemy's weapon systems on the objective.

As with benefits, there are disadvantages, as well.  Airmobile forces, while quick to deploy, have very little integral fire support and support echelons (A1, etc...) and thus need well-coordinated fire support and replenishment prior to the troops basic load being used up.  Airmobiles are well suited to activities like opposed obstacle crossings, where the airmobile force can be inserted as the bridgehead force, and be linked back up with its Zulu vehicles once the breakout force has cleared the crossing area.

A slight tangent from your first question, but one worthy of discussions, particularly as air-land integration is picking up steam these days!

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Offline Fred Herriot

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Re: Size of a Squadron's Maintenance Wing
« Reply #21 on: July 13, 2011, 23:57:36 »
Fred, that's not such a bad idea, if the force were larger.  The US Army has several aviation brigades that have Air Assault Battalions (doctrinally 30 UH-60 Blackhawks, formed in three companies of 10 UH-60s each).   The function of the Air Assault Battalion is to, in extremis, land directly (or within enemy weapons' range) of a defended objective, vice the less dangerous airmobile operations where the LZ is not within the range of the majority of an enemy's weapon systems on the objective.

As with benefits, there are disadvantages, as well.  Airmobile forces, while quick to deploy, have very little integral fire support and support echelons (A1, etc...) and thus need well-coordinated fire support and replenishment prior to the troops basic load being used up.  Airmobiles are well suited to activities like opposed obstacle crossings, where the airmobile force can be inserted as the bridgehead force, and be linked back up with its Zulu vehicles once the breakout force has cleared the crossing area.

A slight tangent from your first question, but one worthy of discussions, particularly as air-land integration is picking up steam these days!

Yes, that's true, isn't it?

Also, for those who are interested in this, part of the reason I like to do this sort of thing is that it really depresses me at times to see how little we can actually do with what we have, both full-time and part-time.  With full-time units, we've got infantry battalions that only are allowed to muster three rifle companies these days, armoured units that aren't really hard-hitting unless they get massive fire support from SOMEWHERE, artillery that's back to being towed in lieu of self-propelled, engineers that are just too multi-tasked, not enough MPs in my opinion and loads of other matters.

Sure, we see lots of promises from Ottawa about making things better, but look what's been happening in Afghanistan.  Whenever a battalion battle group has to go someplace, it's also stealing companies from other battalions of the same regiment, which strips down local capabilities to deal with problems like the flood situation in Qu├ębec and Manitoba and now Saskatchewan, the brush fires in Alberta and so on and so forth.  I really hope that with things now being drawn down halfway around the world, more money and personnel can be poured into getting the ground brigades (and by extension, the tactical helicopter squadrons that support them) beefed up again so that we CAN be seen as a worthy ally and a country willing to help when needed.

And no matter what, all I can give to everyone in uniform now working their butts off wherever they're posted or assigned to is this:

 :salute:
 :salute:
 :salute:
 :salute:
 :salute:

And I'm about to get off this thread tangent, too.  So again, thanks to everyone who commented on my questions and have a good day!  :)
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